U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday struck a conciliatory tone with fellow world leaders at one of the most high-stakes G-20 meetings in years, despite deep divisions on trade and climate change.
Host Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, appealed for unity among bickering world leaders at the start of Japan’s new era of “Reiwa” or “beautiful harmony”, with the long-running trade row between China and the U.S. threatening to overshadow the event.
The appeal seemed to have chimed with arguably the club’s most volatile member, as Mr. Trump dialled down his previously feisty rhetoric against traditional U.S. allies.
Fresh from describing Germany as “delinquent” for not paying enough into the NATO budget, he was effusive when meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel. “She’s a fantastic person,” he said.
Likewise, Mr. Trump hailed Mr. Abe, for sending “many automobile companies” to the U.S..
French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker were seen whispering extensively into Mr. Trump’s ear at the group photo event. Mr. Trump entered with Vladimir Putin, chatting amicably, and the Russian leader patted his American counterpart gently on the back as they parted ways.